Des Moines, Iowa — September 29, 2011
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) is encouraging all Iowans to get their yearly flu vaccination. “Simply put, the flu vaccine saves lives,” said IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. “We estimate an average of 300,000 Iowans gets the flu every year and together, flu and pneumonia are one of the top 10 causes of death in Iowa. The most effective way to prevent influenza illness and death is the yearly flu vaccine.”
IDPH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend annual influenza vaccinations for everyone 6 months of age and older. A person’s decision to receive the vaccination or not impacts their entire community, as a yearly flu vaccine not only protects the individual from illness, but also those around them. It’s especially important to be vaccinated if you have regular contact with people more vulnerable to the complications of flu, including babies, children with asthma, and the elderly. IDPH also recommends pregnant women be vaccinated to protect themselves, and to pass on some immunity to their baby.
This year’s flu vaccine is plentiful and available in both the injectable (‘shot in the arm’) and mist (‘spray in the nose’) options; the vaccine protects against the three most common flu viruses expected to circulate this year, including the H1N1 virus.
Influenza is a respiratory illness that most often causes fever, headache, extreme tiredness, muscle pain, dry coughing, sore throat, and runny nose. In children, diarrhea sometimes accompanies the respiratory symptoms. The flu virus is spread when people who are ill cough or sneeze without covering their mouths and noses, and then others get sick when they breathe in the air containing the flu virus. A person can also get the flu by touching a surface or object (like a door handle) that has been touched by someone with the flu (who coughed into their hand), and then touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose.
For more information on influenza, visit www.idph.state.ia.us/Cade/Influenza.aspx?pg=FluHome. For information about the influenza vaccine, including where you may find a local vaccine provider, visit www.idph.state.ia.us/Cade/Influenza.aspx?pg=FluVaccine.